Sudan braces for massive demonstrations in support of civilian rule

Around one million people are expected on the streets of capital Khartoum and other cities to demand a democratic transition to civilian rule amid tensions between PM Hamdok’s government and the military

Sudanese protesters take to the streets in the capital Khartoum during a demonstration demanding the dissolution of the transitional government, on October 20, 2021. (AFP)

An alliance of pro-democracy groups has called for protests on the streets of Sudanese cities in support of Sudan’s civilian-led government.

Sudanese Professionals Association, SPA, has called people from all sectors to participate in the one million marches they planned for Thursday.

In a statement, the association assured the need for a comprehensive democratic transition as the Sudanese people are tired of political crisis.

The call for protests came after an escalation between the government and the military as the military-aligned Sudanese protesters continue to rally for the fifth day, aggravating what Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok called the “worst and most dangerous crisis” of the country’s precarious transition.

The pro-military protesters are demanding the dissolution of Sudan’s interim government, saying it has “failed” them politically and economically.

US urges for peaceful protest

Organisers and supporters of Thursday’s march have listed a number of demands including refusal of military coup, an end to former regime and its institutions, comprehensive just and sustainable peace and formation of the Revolutionary Legislative Council.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has called Sudanese to keep their protest peaceful.

He tweeted, the United States calls on the Sudanese people to exercise their right to assembly peacefully and without violence, consistent with the spirit of the transition.

The US Embassy Khartoum also encouraged demonstrators to be peaceful and remind them of the strong US support for Sudan’s democratic transition.

Rival Sudanese protest leaders on Wednesday urged their supporters to remain peaceful, on the eve of a critical day of demonstrations over the fate of the country’s fragile transition to civilian rule.

The demonstrations come as Sudanese politics reels from divisions among the civilian and military factions steering the rocky transition since Bashir was toppled and jailed in April 2019 following mass protests.

Sudan is run by a Sovereign Council, a military-civilian body that oversees the transition until elections slated for 2023, with the transitional government led by Hamdok, a former UN economist.

Sudan said last month it had thwarted a coup attempt that it blamed on both military officers and civilians linked to Bashir’s regime.

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